Wildlife

Our forests, meadows, rivers, and mountains are home to an abundance of wildlife. We share Central Colorado with herds of elk, colorful songbirds, secretive mountain lions, sure footed pronghorn antelope, towns of prairie dogs, and many more creatures. The Land Trust is the leader in protecting wildlife habitat in the region. We are identifying critical habitat and wildlife corridors, focusing our energy on these key lands.

  • Some of our land conservation priorities include:
  • Poncha Pass wildlife corridor
  • Elk winter habitat and migration corridor northwest of Buena Vista
  • Arkansas River and other riparian habitat
  • Wetland habitat
  • Critical bird habitat by our bird conservation partners

Read our wildlife profiles:

Wings Over Western Waters

In 2011, Executive Director Andrew Mackie and Executive Director Marie McCarty of the Kachemak Heritage Land Trust, Homer, Alaska, started discussing how they could work together across the West to further local and national bird conservation goals. Drawing from his background in bird conservation, Andrew recognized the opportunity to partner with other land trusts and bird conservation organizations to make a meaningful difference in land conservation. From this initial conversation, Wings Over Western Waters was born.

With support of the Intermountain West and the Pacific Coast Joint Ventures we have been working with land trusts in the West. The initial focus of this program is on two critical habitat types in the West: riparian and wetlands. These water dependent habitats are important for a variety reasons. Each comprises only a small percentage of the overall Western landscape, but provides significant benefits for agriculture, fisheries, wildlife, water quality, and outdoor recreation. Central Colorado Conservancy is focused on all of these benefits so incorporating bird conservation goals into the existing land conservation strategy will only help bring more resources to the effort. Wings Over Western Waters will also let the Land Trusts contribute to a larger conservation effort with significance across the West by providing migratory bird habitat for species identified as declining.

This project will help local and regional land trusts across the West. Andrew states the goals of the project as being: “to help local land trusts with the science and planning needed to identify key species and habitats for protection, to form useful partnerships with bird conservation organizations, to contribute towards large-scale conservation initiatives, and to bring in “big” funding to help local land trusts complete projects”. This is a great example of how Central Colorado Conservancy is being creative and taking a leadership role in land conservation.

Download a PDF of the Wings conference poster.

Wildlife Friendly Escape Ladders for Stock Tanks

Stock Tank Wildlife Escape Ladder

Stock Tank Wildlife Escape Ladder

Central Colorado Conservancy in partnership with Colorado Parks and Wildlife and Salida High School Auto Shop are building wildlife escape ladders for stock tanks in the region. Funding for materials was provided by the Upper Arkansas Conservation District – we thank them for their support!

Wildlife escape ladders are constructed from flattened expanded metal. Our design was taken from one developed by the Rocky Mountain Bird Observatory and the Colorado Natural Resource Conservation Service. This relatively simple ladder allows wildlife to escape from steep sided stock tanks. There is broad evidence to suggest that wildlife drowning is more common in stock tanks than originally thought. Some species of wildlife seem especially vulnerable to drowning, such as: hawks, Western Meadowlarks, Horned Larks and other songbirds, ground squirrels, and several species of bats. Such species are drawn to the tank for the water but can get trapped in the water and exhaust themselves swimming the inside circumference of the tank. The escape ladder allows the animal to grasp the metal grate and climb out to safety.
These ladders also help keep an uncontaminated water source for livestock operations and require less cleaning and maintenance for ranchers. The escape ladder is an easy solution for both preventing accidental wildlife drowning and keeping the water sources free from dead and decomposing animals.

We are offering the escape ladders free of charge to ranchers or landowners with stock tanks. For more information call the Land Trust at 719-539-7700.

Pronghorn need space to roam (copyright) Mary Cuyler 

Pronghorn need space to roam ©Mary Cuyler

Bighorn Sheep ©Raquel Wertsbaugh 

Bighorn Sheep ©Raquel Wertsbaugh

Boreal Toad ©Raquel Wertsbaugh

Boreal Toad ©Raquel Wertsbaugh

Lewis's Woodpecker ©Jim Burns 

Lewis’s Woodpecker ©Jim Burns

Virginia's Warbler ©Jim Burns 

Virginia’s Warbler ©Jim Burns

Western Tanager courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Western Tanager courtesy of the United States Fish and Wildlife Service

Canada Lynx - benefit from our Poncha Pass Initiative

Canada Lynx – benefit from our Poncha Pass Initiative